Breath not only keeps the body alive
with vital oxygen, it also has the power to alter
consciousness and affect your mental and emotional
health. Most of us, however, pay little attention
to the way we breathe, taking short, shallow breaths,
releasing the air we inhale before it comes close
to reaching the bottoms of our lungs. In addition,
particularly when overwhelmed by pain or stress, we
forget to breathe altogether.
Once you recognize the influence your
emotions and thoughts have no your breath, you can
begin to use your breath to influence these states
and to reconnect with the natural flow of life. By
regularly practicing one or more of the following
exercise, you will become more aware of the breaths
you take and will find it easier to breathe more deeply.
Breathe through your nose as you practice the exercises.
When you breathe in, initiate the action from deep
inside your diaphragm to allow your lungs a full range
Three- Part Breath
This technique is designed to draw
air deep into the diaphragm so it can oxygenate the
entire system. To perform it, divide each deep inhalation
into three parts, the first part lifting the belly,
the second part filling the lungs, and the third part
extending into the upper chest. Hold for three seconds,
then release in one long exhalation. Repeat five times.
Twenty - Cycle Breath
This exercise was developed by Leonard
Orr, considered the modern father of breathwork therapy.
It can be performed anywhere and can serve as a pleasant
way to alter your mood or thought process. It is performed
by taking four short, continuous breaths, followed
by one extended long breath. Repeat this cycle five
Wu is a Chinese breathing technique.
Let down in a relaxed position with your head on a
little pillow and your arms resting at your sides,
your feet a little more than hip-width apart. Place
the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth,
just behind where your front teeth meet the gums,
and begin to breathe naturally through your nose.
Imagine the breath coming through your nose to the
top of your head and then down to the centre of your
beelly. Continue breathing and visualizing in this
manner 20-30 minutes, concentrating on the breath
coming in through your head. Do this is in the morning
and at night.
This technique combines diaphragmatic
breathing with a pulsed, hard exhalation. To begin,
take a deep breath and exhale, then inhale forcefully.
Then take two deep-breathing cycles and a pulse breath;
three deep-breathing cycles and a pulse breath; four
deep-breathing cycles and a pulse breath; five deep-breathing
cycles and a pulse breath. Perform this exercise twice
daily or any time your are under stress.
Journal writing, or "journaling",
is an excellent way to release the frustrations that
can accompany illness and can often provide valuable
insights about life issues, including steps you it
can take to more effectively resolve them. Since journal
writing is preformed alone and in private, you will
not be rejected for whatever you express on paper.
This gives you the opportunity to better express how
you feel and to learn to accept whatever comes up,
without judgement. Over time, keeping a journal can
provide new perspectives that help you better understand
and resolve the emotions, patterns, images, and "dramas"
that may be linked to the issues you are exploring
and provide new information that you otherwise might
not have considered.
All that is required to keep a journal
is a pen, paper, and your thoughts. Write without
worrying about whether you are saying anything important
or not, and without being concerned about grammar
or punctuation. All that matters when keeping a journal
is that you are open and honest about your thoughts
and feelings. As your writing connects you to your
"healer within," you may be surprised at
how much you have to express and how good it feels
to write it down.